If You Really Knew Me

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If you really knew me, you’d know that this past year has been a crazy whirlwind of emotions for me. There were some definite highs, but there were also some pretty severe lows. I went through a good chunk of the year depressed, facing one obstacle after another. It was definitely a struggle, but if you really knew me, you’d know that those experiences have made me the person that I am today.

My grandfather has had Alzheimer’s disease for a really long time. But it wasn’t until last year that his mental state really started to deteriorate. For the first time, I’d go to visit him and he’d have no idea who I was. It broke my heart to see him that way. He wasn’t able to do things for himself and his speech wasn’t coherent. Going to see him made me really upset. I guess I was just so shocked at how bad he was, and I dreaded each and every visit. I hated how he was slipping a way from me, right before my eyes.

If you really knew me, you’d also know that my uncle’s condition got a lot worse last year. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was younger and over the past few years he was diagnosed with different types of cancer and underwent numerous surgeries. I spent a lot of last year constantly thinking about him, worrying. What made it worse was that I hardly knew anything about what was going on. I would here snippets of conversations and automatically assume the worst. I had no idea how to react. My parents told me nothing. They wanted to shelter me, saying that I didn’t need anything to worry about. But in the end it just hurt me more. I began to resent them because of that.

While all this was going on in my life, one of my best friends was facing tough times of her own. She was betrayed by a lot of people and she gave up trusting people because of her experiences. Her feelings were hurt more times than I can count. She would vent to me all the time and I’d listen. But things just didn’t get any better and eventually she started to cut herself. It was the only way she knew how to get through things. I’d watch her do it almost every day. It pained me so much to see how she was hurting herself. I wanted to help her, I just didn’t know how. She kept on making the wrong choices, hanging out with the wrong people, doing drugs. Hanging out with her just made me more and more depressed. And if you really knew me, you’d know that I almost made some of the same choices that she did.

Dealing with friends, teachers, and the pressures of high school every day was hard enough. But with everything else happening in my life on top of that, it just felt like so much. The tiniest things would push me over the edge. I had a bunch of mini breakdowns, when I’d start crying uncontrollably. I’d go home everyday and lock myself in my room, trying to figure out what to do. I didn’t really have anyone that I felt comfortable talking to, and I felt completely alone. I didn’t know how to feel better. Spending so much time with this girl, and seeing how cutting was for her, I started to wonder. The thought of cutting crossed my mind many times. And I think that if I had the opportunity I would have. But luckily, before I got that chance, I found an amazing friend in someone I would have never thought possible. She changed the way I thought about everything. She made me realize that I didn’t have to go through this alone. Little by little, I started to open up to her. She was always there with support, advice, and lots of hugs. Most of all, she helped me find happiness again.

I think if I’ve learned anything through all of this, it’s that life does go on. No matter how hard things seem, they do get better. I’ve been able to look at life with a new set of eyes, focusing on all the great things instead of the bad ones. I’ve learned to find healthy vents, for when times aren’t so great, and believe me, there’s still a lot of those. But it’s the way I deal with things that’s changed. I’ve learned that with the help of friends and a little bit of strength it is possible to move on. I may have faced a lot of hardships throughout the past year, but if you really knew me, you’d know that they’ve only made me stronger.





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